The dream of game-streaming as the primary way for gamers to consume their favorite IPs has been a long time coming. But is it a potential reality? Or merely a pipe dream?
With the announcement of Stadia, Google has officially come forth as the first Tech behemoth to build a new platform focused on game-streaming from the ground up.
There’s now enough info out in public for us to weight the pros and cons of such a potential platform.
First thing’s first, though: is game-streaming something that a global playerbase would even desire?
Although the ubiquity of internet access has increased dramatically over the globe, there are still more areas that lack high-speed broadband or fiber-optic connections than those that possess them.
It’s no secret that the key to ensuring that any game-streaming services succeeds is being able to deliver a latency-free experience to the end-user.
While some genres such as turn-based and puzzle experiences may be able to skirt the problems of latency, delivering a latency-free experience to the majority of real-time action games will prove to be either Stadia’s selling point or the hill that it dies upon.
Google is far from the first to experiment with game streaming, with the likes of Sony heading up its Playstation Now project for several years now, streaming high-fidelity gaming experiences has proved to be somewhat problematic for many companies.
In fact, one could argue that Sony has only just begun to head in the right direction by offering its subscribers the potential to download some of the games listed to their console.
Keep in mind that PC subscribers are not currently afforded this luxury – and must still contend with flippant Internet connections and speeds.
The fervor for this software, one could argue, comes from the success of streaming platforms such as Netflix and other video-on-demand services. And for as much as the tech world revolves around innovation and disruption, it is also incredibly prone to groupthink and a hivemind-like collective of more of the same.
We’re going to hedge our bets that Google’s Stadia project isn’t going to be an absolute revolution in terms of how gamers obtain and consume new experiences, but likely a big step up into delivering mostly latency-free gameplay.
Even if it was utterly latency-free, Google’s going to have one massively tall order of convincing potential consumers that paying for more broadband use per month is better than just buying a game outright.
Although the premise does offer something to those who positively must have a massive library of titles ready to access at any moment – or perhaps just those suffering from an affliction of gaming ADHD – there is still much that is left to be desired from the premise of game-streaming than the current options available.
And let’s not forget that the data usage for streaming an MMO like Final Fantasy XIV on a platform like Stadia would be downright ludicrous.